A couple of months ago I visited with Maria Amodei‘s new litter of border collies. Maria raises excellent herding dogs, and the cute factor made it hard to think straight, but I decided that late summer and autumn would be an incredibly busy time on the farm, too busy to properly focus on a new pup. Now that the season is winding down, I feel more ready to bring a new creature into our household, and today I went to visit my friend Kate Collins‘s new litter, from her Pearl.
They were born on Saturday, six males and two females.
Kate said she doesn’t mind if I come down to ogle the puppies once a week or so as they’re growing up. Cass arrived to us when she was 7 weeks old, young, but decidedly dog-like; I’m completely ignorant of how Pearl’s wriggling pile guinea pigs will transform themselves into border collies, so I’m excited to watch the magic firsthand. I’m also hopeful that visiting the pups regularly will give me some insight into which one I should choose, a decision that feels critically important but impossible to make without travel into the future.
For now, there’s not much behavioral distinction among the 8 — except perhaps the big male who seems to be the most adventurous of the bunch — so I’m limited to thinking about generalities: male or female? A female could give me puppies some day, but might bring chaos to the household, as female border collies are notorious for not getting along. A male would probably fit better into the pack, but then I’d have to worry about separating him from Cass when she’s in heat (since I’m trying not to foreclose any breeding possibilities prematurely). I’m second or third on the list of puppy-choosers, so I could probably get one of the two females if I wanted, but Kate definitely wants one, so there won’t be any choice (perhaps a good thing, or not); I would get my pick of the 6 boys. I’m also aware that I’ve only worked with female herding dogs, so I wonder if it would be easier to train another girl, if I’ve somehow imprinted on the way they work; some people claim there’s no difference, and others insist that they’d only have one or the other. And then there’s the most important question, the name! I feel like my repertoire of girls’ names is better developed at the moment, so I need to get cracking on that, too. To be continued…